By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Akwa Ibom State Government has commended a Non-governmental Organisation, African Centre for Environment, Agriculture & Rural Development (ACEARD) for championing environmental education and conservation in the state
In a letter, the Executive Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Secondary Education Board, Rt. (Hon) Mrs. Ekaette Ebong Okon applauded ACEARD and it’s partners for supporting the free and compulsory education policy of government and acknowledged the positive impacts of the project clearly seen and demonstrated in an increased awareness and actions on environmental protection among students and communities in State.
She therefore seeks for long term collaboration and more project especially in the area of teachers training, infrastructure provision, sports equipment, and more light of the schools through clean energy sources.
ACEARD in collaboration with Sports 4 Future e.V. German Association and Zenega Foundation gGmbH, is implementing action oriented environmental education and establishment of conservation gardens in schools in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.
The project aims to raise awareness on environmental conservation, climate protection, involved an average of 30,000 pupils and students across the state, with the target of planting an average of 1000 economic trees per school and raising of nursery gardens for project sustainability.
According to ACEARD Executive Director, Mr. Unyime Robinson “in achieving these, an environmental club were established and inaugurated in schools to facilitate changes in behavior and actions that promote sustainable development as a new way of living.
“As part of the project component, the ACEARD and their partners has so far successfully flooded Schools in the State with the installations of solar energy lightening facilities, planted various species of economic trees in School Conservation Gardens and has also organized an award programmes for best performing students, as parts of efforts in promoting and encouraging environmental sustainability and development of sport skills to improve student’s and teacher’s health.
Robinson assured of the long term sustainability of the project because of a school based management and community-based approach which are all participatory.
“Students and teachers are involved in every phase of implementation. Beneficiaries are adequately trained on environmental best practices. According to him this project concept may also provide baseline for further research on environmental education and impacts.
The negative impacts of human development activities on the environment in Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta region (including Akwa Ibom State) have attracted government and non-government organizations who have undertaken adaptation and mitigation measures as part of efforts to curb the menace of environmental degradation.